When you see Jason Statham vs. giant prehistoric shark in the trailers and poster for The Meg, you might not be thinking of great literature. But The Meg, actually, is based on the novel by Steve Alten. Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror was published in 1997, so to make it more 2018, of course, modifications were necessary for the screen.
“It’s actually pretty different,” The Meg director Jon Turteltaub told us. “All the scenes in the book are kind of in the movie but not always in the same order or the same degree of importance. Things get shifted around. Characters got combined into certain things or sexes. Genders changed. The whole movie is without question sort of a realization of everything Steve Alten had created. It’s definitely his work that made this happen.”
In 20 years, underwater technology evolves drastically, so The Meg benefited from everything that is available to deep sea crews now. But Turteltaub also wanted it to be a tad more advanced. The movie, as a result, actually takes place in the future.
“One of the things we talked about a lot is when does this movie take place?” he explained. “Our answer was always five years from now. The underwater technology certainly has changed and what we know about the ocean keeps changing. I used to think a giant squid was a creation of Jules Verne. We all did. We thought that was a fake sea monster and now we know the giant squid is a real thing. I even thought on this movie, it’s not just giant squid. There’s something called a colossal squid. These seem like fake names you make up when you’re seven but there are more things down there that are real.”
Alten wrote more books in the Meg series, and you know how Hollywood loves franchises. If you go see The Meg on opening weekend you can help make sure the other books get adapted.
“I think there’s a lot in those books that we can draw on if, and it’s a big if — if this is a big hit and people want to see more,” Turteltaub said. “There’s nothing worse than planning a sequel that nobody wants. We’ll put a pin in that one.”
The Meg opens Friday, August 10.